(Review originally written at 2 May 2009)

During the '40's drama movies were quite popular. They however also were in one way or another all more or less the same. In that period it was difficult to come up with something original for your movie. "The Lost Weekend" however still succeeds at this by picking a daring subject for its time; alcoholism. Daring since it hadn't been really handled before in such a direct way in a movie and it in general wasn't a very much talked about subject in its time. The the liquor industry even offered the studio lots of money to not release this movie, thinking that this movie would be bad for business. And rightfully so, fore "The Lost Weekend" is a great and powerful movie, showing the extreme downsides of alcoholism and how it can destroy your life and it of those around you.

You don't really have to read much into the author or the novel this movie got based on to see that the main character and the overall story got based on his own life. Only a man who has been through alcoholism himself could write such an emotionally detailed and striking story. The why's and how's are all being handled, something that just can't be done if you haven't been through any of these events yourself.

It's a real involving movie. Even though the main character seems like a lazy bum who benefits from- and abuses the kindness of others, you still constantly feel for him and want things for him to go well. This is of course also not in the least thanks to Ray Milland's fine acting performance, who deservedly so received an Academy Award for his role.

The acting in general within this movie is just great. Each and ever actor in this movie gives one great performance, that works out as powerful for the movie. It uplifts the story and lets it all work out even better.

But it's of course also due to Billy Wilder that the story and movie in general works out so effectively. His handling of the story, actors, characters, dialog is all just all done so extremely well. He also received an Acedemy Award for his directing of this movie. The movie even won the award for best picture in the same year movies like "Spellbound" and "Mildred Pierce" were nominated.

Basically all that this movie is about is about a failed drunk writer, who spends one entire weekend looking for a way to get his liquor. It's such a simple yet terribly effective concept. Due to its writing, directing and acting it all works out and makes "The Lost Weekend" a truly involving movie. The movie is all the more an accomplishment once you consider that this movie got made in 1945, a time at which it was still a quite controversial subject for a movie to handle. Many though beforehand this movie would destroy the career of those involved but instead most of them flourished afterward and the movie itself also became quite an huge hit, that sweep the awards.

What also deserves to be mentioned is Miklós Rózsa's musical score, that just like this movie itself, was quite unique and unusual for its time. It was the first soundtrack to feature a theremin, the instrument that later would get used so much in the sci-fi genre, especially during the '50's of course.

A truly brilliant, effective gripping movie about a for its time still controversial and untouched, daring subject.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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